A former City of Nixa employee admitted in federal court that he helped set up bogus companies to bilk the city out of close to a million dollars.

State charges were dropped against David Griggs, 44, Willard, when he was federally indicted on May 14, 2009.

Griggs was a utility worker in Nixa's street department from 2003 to 2006 when he set up two bogus companies, Airbone Express and Tri-State Supply, in an invoicing scheme to steal from the city.

Griggs could receive a sentence of up to 50 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million dollars.

He also agreed to forfeit to the government any property obtained from the proceeds of the offenses, including $756,010 and a 1999 Dutchman travel trailer.

Prosecutors will now focus their investgation on Griggs' imediate supervisor,Larry Covington, who they say was the mastermind behind the scam. He and his wife Paula also face state charges related to the scam.

Complete News Release:

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former employee for the city of Nixa, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a series of mail fraud and money laundering schemes totaling more than $756,000.David W. Griggs, 44, of Willard, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr this afternoon to the charges contained in a May 14, 2009, federal indictment. Griggs pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, theft from an organization receiving federal funds, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.Griggs was employed by the city of Nixa as a utility worker in the city’s street department from Nov. 6, 2003, to Feb. 8, 2006. He was promoted to be the lead utility worker on Aug. 4, 2004.Griggs participated in a conspiracy to defraud the city of Nixa between Oct. 18, 2004, and Feb. 25, 2009. Conspirators used two fictitious businesses established by Griggs – Airborne Specialist (sometimes referred to as Airborne Specialists) and Tri-State Supply – to invoice the city of Nixa for approximately $273,645 in goods and services for the street department that were never provided. During that time frame, 122 fraudulent invoices were submitted to the city.Griggs established separate post office boxes for the two businesses. When the city mailed checks payable to the businesses, they were deposited into business bank accounts and conspirators split the proceeds of the fraudulent invoices. Griggs admitted that he conspired with others to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of the mail fraud.By pleading guilty today, Griggs also agreed to forfeit to the government any property obtained from the proceeds of the offenses, including $756,010 and a 1999 Dutchman travel trailer.Under federal statutes, Griggs is subject to a sentence of up to 50 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Nixa, Mo., Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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